She was labelled “The Italian Marilyn Monroe” at one point

Silvana Pampanini rose to prominence in the 1950s. Together with Sophia Loren, the actress established Italy as a film industry force to be reckoned with. After winning a beauty pageant, the actress catapulted to prominence, and by the 1950s, every major American studio wanted to sign her. But, in the end, she turned them all down for one reason…

Pampanini, who once compared herself to Greta Garbo, was unlike any other actress. She was always independent and made the decision early on to keep her employment and career within the family. While she rose to prominence as one of Italy’s most recognised stars, her personal life remained a secret. She never married and never had children.

Pampanini’s life was committed to the arts, albeit she gave up performing relatively early in her career. Despite having lived a long and, by all accounts, happy life, her time on Earth ended tragically a decade ago.

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ilvana Pampanini was born on September 25, 1925, in Rome, Italy. Silvana was born into a Venetian family and demonstrated an early knack for acting and singing. Her aunt was the famed soprano Rosetta Pampanini, despite the fact that her parents had nothing to do with the entertainment industry. Nonetheless, Silvana fondly remembered her upbringing – and, of course, her parents.

Pampanini was adamant about pursuing a career in opera. She went on to study at the famed and ancient music high school Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, encouraged by her aunt. It dates from the 16th century.